UPCYCLING: the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
At least, according to Wiki.
Tonight, I took brown rice that would have been waste material if it wasn’t eaten soon, and converted it into a better quality product for better nutritional value. Close enough. 😉
I love being able to make use of leftovers. I rarely, rarely ever throw anything out. So many people say “I can’t eat like you because the food is too expensive.” To that, I say, it is possible. Is eating organic, fresh, quality food more expensive? Yes and no. On one hand, the ingredients can be more expensive, but I use them very responsibly. I carefully plan out meals to avoid waste. We use every bit of leftover food. We eat less meat than the average family to compensate for the fact that it costs twice as much. This is not a bad thing, because we tend to fill our plates with fruits and veggies now, where once there was meat and potatoes. There are five of us in this house. Two adults, and three kids, aged 13, 11 and 9. There is lots of eating going on here. Furthermore, we homeschool, so every.single.meal. is eaten here. It adds up.
That said, my grocery budget is between 150-200 dollars per week. Sometimes even less. Not bad for three meals and snacks, every day, seven days a week. Really not bad when you consider we are about 80% organic, our meat is *usually* grassfed or pasture raised, our eggs are free range (and local), and we don’t eat “fillers” like potatoes, most breads, and many grains. It is possible…but only if I make use of every bite…like I did tonight. 🙂
Tonight’s menu? Chile Verde. One of my faves. I usually would eat it with refried beans and tortillas, but that’s off limits for me right now. I really wanted something on the side.
I forgot to take pictures of everything, so I will outline as simply as possible. It was very, very easy. Everything I used was organic too, which made me happy. 🙂
1/2 of an onion (I used white)
2 garlic cloves
3 tomatoes (I used roma)
1/2 of a chili pepper (I used santa fe)
pinch of salt
2 cups leftover (or just cooked) brown rice
2 tbsp of oil (refined coconut or high-oleic sunflower preferred)
1. puree the tomato, onion, pepper, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
2. in a 12 inch skillet, heat the oil.
3. add the rice, stirring constantly. I use a little metal spatula to continually scrape the bottom so it doesn’t stick.
4. add your tomato puree.
5. stir to coat, and keep on low heat until the rice and puree are both nice and warm. 🙂
Serve! (P.S., I am not a food photography blogger.)
Verdict? It will not taste like the spanish rice you are familiar with. It really isn’t meant to. It is, however, a fresh tasting side dish with just enough kick. 🙂 It is also kinda nice that the veggies haven’t had all the nutrition cooked out of them. Making them into a puree first keeps you from having to cook them down a ton. 🙂
A definite upcycle…but still not beans and tortillas. 😉